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Reality Training
by Reality Training

Taking command: Fully involved structure

As the first-on-scene officer, what would your incident action plan look like for this fire, and is the structure worth saving?

By Robert Avsec

This feature is intended to spark the sharing of ideas, information and techniques to make firefighters safer and more effective. The following video and discussion points must not be used to berate, belittle or criticize those firefighters. Rather, in the spirit of near-miss reporting, please use this feature as another teaching tool to help you better do your job. Please leave your comments below and use this material in your own department. I hope you find this Reality Training valuable; stay safe and keep learning.

The “Three Cs of incident command” are Communicate, Coordinate and Control. For this incident, let’s focus on the last two.

Coordinate means to focus and coordinate all resources towards one Incident Action Plan. The initial incident commander must conduct an appropriate size-up of the incident and develop the initial IAP to begin incident management operations. 

Once the commander has the IAP in her head, she must begin to translate the plan into meaningful task assignments for the remainder of the incoming resources.

Control means the incident commander must exert a positive influence on incident operations and resources, safety hazards and the incident environment (such as keeping civilians and vehicles clear and providing scene lighting).

Discussion questions

  • How would you assess this situation as an arriving officer who will be assuming command from the first arriving officer? 
  • What would be your IAP?
  • What is your evaluation of the tactical operations that you see taking place in the video? 
  • What adjustments, if any, would you make if you were assuming command of this incident?
  • How would you evaluate the level of coordination for the tactical activity presented in the video?
  • How would you evaluate the control being exerted by the incident commander for this incident? 
  • Was this a structure worth saving?

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